Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A bit sad...

I started this blog way back in 2007 as a way to document our lives and as virtual baby books once we were blessed with those children.

I started learning photography in 2012 in order to have a better visual representation of our lives.

But somehow, along the way, life has gotten in the way of that.  And I seem to have completely abandoned that idea and moved to the idea of one-liner status updates on Facebook.  As I went back the other day to find some historical information on one of my kids, and couldn't find it on here, I was disappointed.  In myself.  For completely, seemingly going dark.

For all the moments and thoughts that I missed with Avery's pregnancy.  All those moments I missed documenting.  I have no real excuse, just the simple fact that I am overwhelmed with life and a lot of my creativity is sucked out in work projects.  I can't even blame photography any more, as once I got to a certain point in the pregnancy with Avery, I simply didn't have the energy or brain power to do that.

I miss capturing our life in words and images.  I don't know how to add that back into my life on a regular basis.  I only have so many hours in a day.  So, I guess, here's a little quick and dirty update.


6 years old and in her first year of kindergarten.  Yes.  6.  And in kindergarten.

There were so many days over the years that I feared what this time would hold.  Would prematurity rear it's head again?  It was a bit of a rough beginning as she adjusted to the new schedule.  We had quite the attitude once she got home from school, but we think a large part of that was the unexpected drama surrounding her sister's birth and the fact that mommy wasn't home for 10 days.  But so far she has excelled, especially in math and science to her father's excitement.  Those who know me well, know math is not my strong suit.  :-D

And much to her father's and I surprise and pride, she has even won a "classy cat" award for kindness for being the first one to offer help, support, caring and concern for her classmates.  The surprise only comes from the fact we wish she showed this spirit at home...with her brother...

Her recent checkup had her at 36lbs and 3 feet 6 inches tall.  She continues on her curve for her height, but is dropping (again) on her weight.  For the 2nd year in a row she has dropped further down.  From her top of 11%, down to 9% at 5 years and now down to 4%.  Somehow, we have to get this kid to eat more.  In addition, speech has AGAIN become a concern.  She has consistently tested behind, but not significantly, since her release from early intervention.  She was recently re-tested by the school and from what it sounds, she will be starting speech services again.  The 1-2 punch for the preemie mom guilt...but I'm choosing to simply stick my tongue back at it and say "nah-nah."

Mature.  I know.

And then...

We have this one.


From the day he was born, he has confounded us.  From colic, to climbing.  Now jumping and outright defiance.  And serious doses of independence.  After years of struggling to get the boy to potty train, he decided the best place to do so was at the very start of his first airplane ride.  Yes.  The boy potty trained on a plane.  Whatever works?  He has recently taken to dressing himself and we love it...just often find ourselves amused as he insists on putting his clothes on backwards and the wrong feet in the wrong shoe.  But hey.  At least he dressed himself. :-D

Luckily, mommy and baby sister returned home from the NICU the DAY before he went for his first day of preschool.  It seems to have been a non-issue in terms of adjustment for him and he is loving it.  His teachers have told us many times just how smart he is and how he is telling them of things they have not taught yet.  If only we could get the jumping under control....I don't know how the kid hasn't ended up in the hospital yet.

He is 3, almost 4 and outweighs his sister.  Not entirely surprising...  He loves "power engine turtles" (translation: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Optimus Prime and most recently...Power Rangers.  Sigh.  Side note...did anyone else notice Jennifer Garner was one of the Power Rangers?!

Last...but not least...the littlest A

Though her entrance to this world was far less than what was dreamed, she has been a dream baby.  Like her older sister, she has slept through the night from early on.  But also like her older sister, she is a peanut and on the slow side of the weight gain.  She's persevered through her own NICU stay, tongue and lip ties and corrections.  She's almost 3 months old and weighs 10lb 13oz.  Seems she is going to be a tall peanut.  She's finally started giving us full fledged smiles and even shown a mischievous side.  But most of her awake time is spent looking around and acting unimpressed by the shenanigans of her older siblings.

The older two absolutely adore her and E has decided being a big sister is a cool thing, instead of a drag.  She begs to help out sometimes and I feel so bad that I have to tell her no a lot.  Since she mostly wants to help feed her.  And, well, I can't let her do that or it's to my detriment haha.

Life is insanely busy - but overall satisfying.  I truly hope to be able to go back to capturing those little moments, especially as we are walking down the path of our absolute last baby.  These are the things we want to remember when we are old.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


What is PTSD?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It's not always about war and the trauma that puts on our service men and women, which is what it is most commonly known for.  And while I am in no way saying their struggle is not important and shouldn't be getting the awareness that it does (because it deserves every bit of awareness and more) but there is more than one type of PTSD.

Sometimes PTSD reflects itself in more subtle ways.  The cacophony of beeps, cries and burps.  The sites of tubes down noses, wires, thermometers.  The measuring of bottles, diapers, weight.  The sights, the sounds, the smells.  Oh so familiar, in some ways comforting and in other ways gut wrenching.

PTSD is watching your youngest daughter walk the same path as your oldest, albeit to a much smaller degree.

PTSD is walking down those same, yet very different halls.  Knowing what you will find, you've been there before.  Hiding your tears and holding your head high.  And yet afraid of being sucked in again.

Sucked in by a need to know quantity in such a way that it consumes you.  Did she eat enough?  Is she warm enough?  Is she gaining weight? 

Eat, eat, eat.  Gain, gain, gain.

Can we not just go home?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hanging by a Thread

Yesterday, I posted an article on my Facebook page about kindergarten applications requiring certain information upon registering their child for school.  One of which was a question about whether the child was vaginal or a c-section birth.  But others pertained to whether or not the child was premature, if the pregnancy was complicated (HA!  They need more than three lines of space for me), how premature, if the baby came home with you, etc.

This post resulted in a lot of very HEALTHY conversations regarding this and my desire to not put in any of my daughters public records the circumstances of her birth.  (And please know, that those of you who will read this and participated in that conversation, you in NO WAY offended, hurt, disrespected me, etc and I appreciated each and every ones participation as it did give alternate points of view.)

But I realized this morning why it triggered such a negative response in me.  Because of the filter I viewed it through.

Which filter was that?  The one of mommy guilt.  The one that by having to mark that box yes screams to the world the scarlet letter on MY back that I failed her.  I failed her in so many ways. That there are problems that may still arise from my inability to keep her in.

And I just find myself asking WHEN.  When will we be past all of these potential pitfalls that may come her way?  When will I be able to stop worrying that I damaged her?  When can I lay down this scarlet letter?

Granted, I will never stop sharing her story as she is truly a miracle to me.  Such a happy, healthy, vibrant, intelligent miracle.  Who has shown me more strength in one tiny body than I thought was possible.  I am so proud of her and how well she has done.

But when can I stop looking ahead to try to stay on top of any potential problems as a result of circumstances she certainly didn't cause?

When can I just enjoy her for her and the miracle that she is?

When can I stop feeling like I need to defend myself from having to explain to the world why my body decided to prematurely eject the child from my womb despite every effort to keep her in?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The power in a day

Ask any preemie mom and they will tell you that just one day can make a huge difference.  The difference between life or death.  The difference between the medical community fighting for your child or not.  The difference in the length of a NICU stay.  The difference in the long term outcome of that child.

We wear those days on our shirts like a badge of honor.  Even subsequent pregnancies is not just a birth day - but a gestational age. 

Elisa was 29 weeks 1 day when she was born.  Aidan was 37 weeks.

That 1 day is important.  Because it was one day longer I held on and kept her in.  It's almost for me a sign of just how much more I tried to kick prematurity (and pre term labors) butt.

I shot this yesterday at 29+1.  To celebrate this victory.  I don't need artists renditions of what this one looks like at this point in her development.

I watched it in person.

But every day now is a victory.  A victory against prematurity.  A victory that I've made it this far.  I can't say it's the longest I've ever been pregnant.  But it's the longest I've gone without symptoms of pre-term labor (we won't count Wednesday's episode of contractions every 2-3 min since I was already in the hospital for a headache ;) - but even then, at 28+5, that was the longest I'd made it in either before having to go to L&D).

I watched her grow from this point on until now.  Showing prematurity that it's just a word, not a definition.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Curse you, triggers.

That come out of left field.  With no known rational trigger.

I'm 27 weeks and 2 days with this baby girl.  It's not even a big "milestone" day.  By this point with Elisa, I was "stable" and just cruising towards my first goal of 28 weeks.  We were settled into what was going to be our "permanent" home until I delivered at 37 weeks, and had settled into our pattern of regular contraction monitoring and NSTs.

So I have no idea why, in the first few songs of church this morning, I was suddenly confronted with image after image of that room.  And confronted so strongly with an unrelenting slideshow that so overtook my eyes I could no longer see the room around me.

This is my Father's world
Oh let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet
This is my Father's world
Why should my heart be sad
Read more: Gungor - My Father's World Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

It wasn't until these words cut through the haze of images that I was able to take a deep breath and begin to return myself to the reality of where I am NOW, not where I once was.

Sometimes, I think of how much of a miracle it is that I am actually here.  After losing two pregnancies before finally getting pregnant with Elisa, and then her sudden, dramatic (yes, and traumatic) entrance into this world, I find it a miracle that I ever found it in me to try again.  Once.  

Much less twice.

Photo courtesy of Wolfinger Photography

And yet, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  These two, soon to be three, are my world. And though they take my sanity, my energy, my lifeblood, they are worth every second.

I don't know that I will ever truly be able to put into words the mixture of emotions I go through with every pregnancy.   Especially in those moments when I'm there...but not really there and in those moments in the past.  It seems like every moment in my pregnancy is a reminder of something.  And as much as I try to live in today and for today, those moments seem to forever define my pregnancies.

And so I take each day as it comes.  And be thankful for each and every day that passes by and she's still in there.  The misery, the pain, the exhaustion.  Every moment will be worth it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Maybe it's a part of healing.  Maybe it's hormones.  Who the heck knows.  But this.  This song spoke to me.

There's a light I still see it
There's a hand still holding me
Even when I don't believe it
I might be down but I'm not dead
There's better days still up ahead

Even after all I've seen.  There is hope in front of me.

Hope.  The one thing I clung to all these years.  The one thing that has never gone away.

There's a hand still holding me.  Even when I don't believe it.

Life has knocked me down many times in my 34 years.  But it hasn't killed me yet.  And as long as that is the case, I will keep getting up.  And I will keep moving forward.

There's a hope in front of me.  There's a light and I still see it.  Even after all I've seen, there is still hope in front of me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I put this video together over a year now and was reminded of it as I drove to my 25 week appointment and the song I used came on the radio.

This song, from the moment I heard it, was Elisa's anthem.  And no matter where I stand with my faith in God, still is my anthem.  God moved mountains with her.  God showed me that impossible IS just a word, through her.

I don't know why I've never shared it before.  I put it together for the preemie support group Elisa's NICU invited me to talk in when we went back.  It just seemed fitting that I share it now.  As Elisa starts her first days of pre-kindergarten.  And I am just a week away from the moment my life changed forever - 26 weeks, 3 days will always be a milestone in my pregnancies.


Song credits: Kutlass - That's What Faith Can Do
Poem: author is unknown - I found it in one of my preemie groups.